Some of us might feel deep down in our hearts that tithing is not a command for us today, but the fear of consequences keeps us from letting go. Detaching our lives from tithing brings fear of spiritual death, curses from God, financial ruin, and ostracism; which are all signs of our unhealthy dependence. We are addicted to tithing like druggies are addicted to crack cocaine. If the consequences of not tithing is holding you back from freewill, Spirit-led giving, then this 12-step program is for you. We are going to layout a program to free the Church from the tithing addiction and onto a road of free giving led by the Holy Spirit.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over tithing—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Admission that tithing is a problem is the first step. If you cannot admit yet that tithing is unbiblical and that you are powerless on your own to stop tithing, then here are a few articles to get you started on finding the truth.
- Top Arguments for Tithing
- 10 Solid Arguments Against Tithing
- Top Reasons Why Tithing is Not Required
- If it Looks Like it & Acts Like it
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Our minds have been brainwashed that tithing is required for so long that it is inhumanly possible to reprogram our minds to respond correctly anymore. It will take prayer and intense research in biblical truth to transform our minds. There will be doubts and second-thoughts along the road of finding the truth, but eventually you will reach your destination, and you will be happier than ever. If you need help preparing yourself for the mental and spiritual battle about to talk please, read this article below.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
I would say that this is the first pro-active step you will be taking on your 12 step journey. The first two steps are admissions, but now you’ve taken a real step in a good direction. Making a decision to stop tithing after years of abusing, is not easy. We need to trust that God has something special for us in store.
This hope will carry us through our next 9 steps. Trust is never easy, but after admitting the truth about tithing in our lives we’ve gotta act on faith in order to do the right thing.
When i began my journey away from my tithing addiction, i had to practice a sort of blind faith. Although, i had scripture to support my change in heart, i still needed to place my life and my decision in God’s care. It was no longer my burden.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
In this step, we will take an overall look into our spiritual life. This is neither about the technicalities, nor about tithing; this is about examining the condition of your heart. We must first admit to ourselves where we have found faults before we admit them to others.
If we locate the areas in our life that cause our minds and hearts to ignore the truth, then in the future it will be easier to uncover the false gospel. Maybe pride kept us from seeing the truth. Maybe it was fear. Whatever it was, make a note of it. The link to the article here will help you see the tactics some have used to mislead others.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I think this was one of the most difficult steps, but consequentially a step that indicates the most progress as well. As a male, admitting we’re wrong is not easy! Imagine the world if we enjoyed admitting our faults to others. I don’t mean that we enjoy our faults, but there’s something about public admission that releases a large burden off your back. It is so relieving!
Because tithing is the issue, we may have used biblical distortion or even greed. Many people use tithing as a magical potion to gain wealth. Even fear can be wrong. If we are fearing God in the wrong way, and that caused us to cling to tithing, then we must admit what led us astray.
It would seem that the burden on your back is being carried by others now. Psychologically, it is amazing how this works. Admitting our faults also encourages a form of accountability. Self awareness helps, but public awareness brings much more pressure to stay on track. There are slew of other benefits that step 5 brings to the table. Since we are more concerned with changing our life and less concerned about what others think about us; step #5 also means that we’ve proudly displayed how serious we are about our decision. Please read the link to my tithing testimony below to help you.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Only you can answer for yourself if you are ready, but i would assume if you’ve gotten this far, you probably are.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
We cannot remove our faults ourselves, so it is important to ask for help. Only God has the power to help us remove them. Trials and temptations will come in the future, but remember, this is to make you stronger. After my decision to stop tithing, i stumbled many times, but i got up after each incident. Now my faith in God to lead me in my finances and giving is stronger than it had ever been.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Put some effort into remembering the people you have hurt, or led astray with your teaching or beliefs on tithing. Analyze family, friends, and friends of friends. For some of us, it maybe hundreds, if not thousands of lives we have affected.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Here’s the time to eat some humble pie. This step is necessary to not only help us heal, but to help others heal as well if they are struggling because of your wrong doings. I would consider this your first step at evangelizing the truth about tithing. Once others see your change in heart (although, they may not remember your fault), they will appreciate your testimony and begin to research the truth on their own.
People interpret scripture in so many different ways, so it may just be your change of heart that convinces them to see the truth. You can’t push people towards the truth, you must lead them, and they must follow.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Easier said than done – Keeping track of our actions, and categorizing them according to right and wrong. I’m not saying that everyone needs to keep a journal and record everything. But step #10 helps develop a habit to become self aware so we become more conscious about how our actions affect others. Our life is not about us; it’s about others.
The thing that was funny about tithing is that it was all about us. It was about avoiding the curse in our lives and making God happy about our works; but now this should all begin to change.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
The best way to prepare ourselves for the final step is to immerse yourself in God. You will need wisdom and power to begin the end of your 12 step journey. At this point, you are practically a fully recovered tithing addict, but walking with the power of God needs to become habitual. Continue to use what you have learned in the last 10 steps to carry you through. Also, learn to rely on God and others for accountability.
Quitting tithing was harder than actually tithing itself because of the level of responsibility freewill, spirit-led giving takes. Conscious contact with God will provide the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy giving lifestyle.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to tithe-aholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The final step to recovery is really the beginning of another journey to help others recover from their tithing addiction. At the end of my 12 step journey in tithers anonymous, i decided to dedicate a website and eventually a blog to chronicle my research on tithing. You may wish to do something like this as well. Maybe there’s another way for you to help others recover from their tithing addiction. Whatever God lays on your heart is what you should pursue.
Although we are free from tithing, we are not released from the ability to give sacrificially, liberally, and cheerfully. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to train us how to give correctly. So this is another journey we are beginning as well.
Our Spirit-led giving must testify as an example that tithing is not necessary, nor is it biblical. The bible is full of clear direction on how we should perform Spirit led giving. Here are some links below to equip you on your Spirit led journey.
- How Spirit Led Giving Could Transform the Church
- Bible Verses on Spirit Led Giving
- How Were Offerings Used in the New Testament
Once you have completed the 12 step (stop tithing) program, go and be free, be sacrificial, be cheerful, and be liberal with the grace that God has given you. Freely you have received, so freely give.